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That’s Odd

What makes an odd number different from an even number? This isn’t like a Sesame Street kind of test. I’m simply asking why should three be more odd than six? Or eighteen be more even in nature than twenty-one. What makes a number odd or even, and how is it that from the age of three or four every child knows whether a number is odd or even?

Oddly arranged numbers in an Even order.

They might know what an odd or even number is, but do they know why? It’s strange. It’s bizarre. It’s well, frankly, odd.

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Happy Belated Earth Day

Dear Earth,

Oops!!!! I missed it yet again. I’m sooooo so so sorry ! 😦 I read about your birthday on Facebook last night and there were just so many comments that at first I was all, I never get that many people commenting on my special day, but then I like chilled out and whatnot and thought, well, at least I’ll try and write something pretty sick, but you know, from the heart. By the time I thought of something cool to say, it was like after midnight, and well, by that time, I thought it was a bit pointless. Anyway, Earth, you know I love you lots and lots. Although I’m betting you won’t see this until after the weekend because I’m pretty sure you’re recovering from a hangover this morning 🙂 (I noticed that you organized a little celebration at the bar.) Anyhoo, once again sorry about missing your birthday.
Take care of yourself, and don’t let the man push you around.

Lots and lots of Love

The Bay Area Brit.

P.S. That thing in Iceland with the volcano…awesome!!! You know, just to let everyone know who really rules the skies around you.

God Save The Sex Pistols

Happy Birthday Queen…We Mean It Maaaaan!

      Today is the birthday of Her Royal Tourist Industry, Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen is now 84 and the oldest English monarch, you know, like, ever. It seems that advancements in modern medications have offered a Royal an extended lifetime since the days of the Tudors and the days of “leeching.” The Queen, who even if she weren’t 84, is little more than a national figurehead, although, of course, a huge source of tourist income to her nation’s pockets. I remember well the Silver Jubilee in 1977 marking her 25th year in “power.” Oh, it was all very patriotic: red, white, and blue bunting everywhere, images of her Royal Majesty on anything that you might be able to sell in a gift shop….ooh what a fuss they made.

Malcolm McLaren–Don’t trust this man with your money!

1977 was also the year that punk not only broke out, but spat in the face of the British establishment. It was a familiar story of rebellion that parents of every generation had heard from their kids before–but Punk was different. It was rude, in-your-face, and anarchic. It was just not very “British.” And in 1977, it was orchestrated by a man called Malcolm McLaren, who was the puppetmaster to a band of rogues: The Sex Pistols. McLaren masterminded a publicity campaign targeting all the stale established institutions that made England a miserable place to be for its disenfranchised youth in 1977, and as such, with his band, was vilified for it in the media.

      The funeral of Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren (who passed away earlier this month from cancer) will be taking place in London tomorrow. He’ll be buried in Highgate Cemetery, current home to Karl Marx. If anyone could convince Karl Marx that Capitalism wasn’t all bad it would be Malcolm McLaren, who coined the phrase “CASH FROM CHAOS .”

The Sex Pistols–Love them or hate them, they woke up a nation

      Never the one to mind receiving attention, even in death, McLaren’s body will be transported via carriage in a funeral procession (worthy of a monarch) that will travel through Camden High Street, Chalk Farm Road, Ferdinand Street, Malden Road and Southampton Road, before ending at Highgate Cemetery. Observers along the procession route have been encouraged to display “a Minute of Mayhem” in honor of McLaren as he passes by, breaking the tradition of solemnity. (Minutes of silence are usually awkward things anyway that are usually interrupted by a sturdy coughing fit or a drunken heckle and are often replaced these days with “a minute of applause” especially at sporting events.)

        I don’t know why they didn’t schedule the funeral on the Queen’s birthday. It doesn’t make sense. McLaren went after the monarchy, and it would have been too perfect, one last parting two-fingered salute. Ridiculing the monarchy just wasn’t something you did publicly, even in 1977–but he and The Pistols did it. Although the days of a King or Queen decreeing a beheading for such things are long gone.

        Regardless of his riff with  John Lydon (who for the record I side with because, well he was the talent wasn’t he, and should have been rewarded accordingly) McLaren was important. Without his guidance, The Sex Pistols may not have been the force of nature that they were. Undoubtedly the music was there, but what separated them from the rest, was McLaren’s innate talent to market and keep the audience wanting more. And without the influence of The Sex Pistols, as history remembers them, music and fashion, as we know it today, would be entirely different.

Great British Heroes #121 Dr. Who

       This weekend BBC America ensured that British and American sci-fi goblins alike would tune in to their station by showing the premiere of the new Doctor Who season complete with, of all things, a brand new Doctor played by 27 year-old Matt Smith. If you’ve never seen Dr. Who, think of him as a hyperactive, genius/goofball, world-saving James Bond-type that doesn’t fight much and supposedly cannot die. He is a Time Lord and travels through time and space in an old, blue Police Telephone Box, which is called the TARDIS. If you’ve got an evil, cat-stroking super-villain to fight and need a Brit to do it, then you can summon any old quasi-hero to take care of business: James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, or even Miss Marple has been known to get her lacy cuffs a little dirty. However, if you’ve got a giant, volcanic ash cloud hovering over Europe harboring alien life in the form of mutant micro-organisms which are growing in size and number by the day preparing to unleash themselves on an unsuspecting Earth–then Doctor Who is your man.

Who can save us?

     When I was a kid, Doctor Who was by far and away the scariest thing we were allowed to watch on telly. I watched much of it from behind the couch. The show was peppered with scary-ass aliens, immense robots, slimy creatures from distant planets, and of course DALEKS! The Daleks were absolutely piss-in-your-pants terrifying. My eyesight was far from 20/20 and so in my terror-filled moments, I failed to notice the poorly made papier mache scary masks and space-age alien fabric costumes made of Polyester, Velcro, and used jam jar lids. My poor eyesight smoothed out the shoddy 1970s arts and crafts patchwork aliens. But Doctor Who always saved the day, and I pictured myself as the Doctor and even drew sketches of what my Doctor Who would look like.

Jon Pertwee, Yeah Baby!

     The first Doctor Who I saw on telly was the third actor to play the part. His name was Jon Pertwee and his version of Dr. Who looked like a cross between a silver-haired, wiry Lithuanian poodle and Austin Powers’s hypothetical grandfather sans eyeglasses.

      However, Pertwee was NOT the goofiest dressed Dr. Who by a long shot. Some of the Doctors chose their own outfits themselves from the BBC costume dept., and in an effort to make their own imprint on the role only succeeded in creating looks that would have poo-pooed even the kindest Project Runway judge…”Beezaaaaare!”

One day you’re in…
Really? I’m surprised the aliens on Quazark didn’t bludgeon him to death with a croquet mallet
I like where you were going with the waistcoat, but it’s too costumey.
….the next day you’re out! Auf Wiedersehen

     As I got older, the Doctors’ got younger. I think there may have been a brief cross over of about ten minutes in the late-nineties when Doctor Who and I may have been a physically comparable match in both age and appearance, but that was it, and thus my dream of being Doctor Who was crushed. The timeline was all messed up. If only I’d had a TARDIS.

The original Doctor Who…shh! don’t call him old.
Doctor McDreamy: Matt Smith–Not your father’s Doctor Who.

         Matt Smith has a lot to live up to, the previous Doctor: David Tennant was, by all accounts, the most popular Doctor ever. The show itself has seen a resurgence in popularity. Perhaps fueled by an improved special effects department budget, which went from like 30 quid a week in 1963 to 50,000 in 2010. In the premier on Saturday there were all kinds of clever twists and turns in the plotline and a scary, pointy-toothed, slimy alien monster that almost sent The Bay Area Brit scurrying behind the couch–again.

       And so for scaring the holy bejeebers out of kids and adults for years and years, Dr. Who is a Great British Hero. We salute you, good Doctor. May your TARDIS travel safely through eternity. Oh, and good luck defeating those Alien Volcano Mutants in Iceland.

© Matty Stone 2010

Dining With Elvis – Speisekammer in Alameda

    As some of you may know, Elvis Presley is alive and well and lives in a room in my house. Every month we choose a new restaurant to visit in The Bay Area. We eat, drink, and talk about the old days.

      It was Elvis’s pick this month and I gave my colon a pep talk believing “The King” would likely take me to the greasiest spoon in the world. I tried to talk him into selecting a place that served fish ‘n’ chips so that I might continue my search for the best in the Bay Area.

      When Elvis told me he wanted to check out a German restaurant in Alameda called Speisekammer, I was surprised.

2424 Lincoln Ave., Alameda, CA

     “Man, you know I like the wiener,” Elvis said, completely straight-faced.

“You like ‘the wiener,’” I said, trying not to laugh.

He said it again, and then upon realizing what he’d been saying, slapped me across the back of my head. “Make fun of an old man wouldya?”

“Sorry, Alan,” I said, using Elvis’s Graceland codename. “Let’s get a beer at the bar. I need to get my throat lubed up if I’m going to be swallowing wiener.” I shot Elvis a cheeky grin and he just scowled at me. “Sorry, King,” I whispered. “No more, I promise.”

       Elvis was stationed in Germany in the late 1950s and during that time discovered a penchant for real German food. We took our beers to the table and Elvis looked over the menu. “What the hell are ‘German Fries?’” he said.

“I don’t know, mate,” I said. “What the hell are French Fries? I mean they’re talking about chips aren’t they? I’ll tell you what, Alan, order some and we’ll check their little passports.”

Ketchup by Heinz?

       Elvis ordered the Bratwurst: two pork sausages served with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes and mustard. When Elvis’s food arrived, I glanced at his plate and quickly looked down at my beer and smiled. He stabbed at a sausage with his fork and waved it at me. “I swear to God if you make another pecker joke…” God bless him, but I swear he makes more inappropriate jokes than anyone I know; especially when it comes to discussing his own “wiener.”

Two wieners, und I’m ze only plate, ya.

    Our “German Fries” arrived and as I suspected they were just normal fries, perfect in every way, though. Elvis asked me if I’d ever had Spätzle. “Gezundheit,” I said.

“No, Spätzle, you dang stupid Limey. It’s like Mac and Cheese, but for grown-ups.”

Spätzle is like a savory desert-treat

      In an attempt to still get some variation of my fish ‘n’ chip craving, I ordered the Gegrillte Lachsfilet which was a grilled salmon fillet with mashed potatoes, spinach and cucumber-dill sauce. The salmon was so fresh it tasted like it had been hoisted from a stream that afternoon. I watched Elvis inhale a sausage and wished he’d break his “no paparazzi” rule and let me take a picture of him. “Man, this is as good as I remember,” he smiled, as I wiped a little dollop of mustard from the side of his face with my napkin.

      The band began to set up their instruments, and Elvis looked at the stage longingly. “Do you think I should ask if I can sit in with them for a song or two.”

“Come on, Alan, you know you shouldn’t try to draw attention to yourself,” I said. “Anyway, we should be getting you back home. There’s a Golden Girls marathon on Lifetime. You know how much you love that Betty White.”

“Man, I sure do. Did I ever tell you I let her…”

           “Meet Little Elvis?” I interrupted, resisting the urge to use the word wiener. He furrowed his eyebrows a little.

“No, I was actually going to say ‘let her……beat me at Scrabble.’”

“Sure you were, Elvis, sure you were,” I whispered, as I helped him out of his seat.

For more background, read the first “Dining With Elvis” here:


©Matty Stone 2010

British? Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

          If you live in a city, the chances are you have a friend who is British. I know what you’re thinking: “If one of my friends was British, I’m pretty sure I’d know about it.” Well, I’m here to peel the layers of ignorance off of you.

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Baseball vs. Cricket and Football vs. Er, Football?

     For some reason, if I’m watching a game in a sports bar in America, and a stranger hears my accent, he will, within moments upon discovering I’m British, tell me what he thinks of soccer and (or) cricket. It almost always goes a little something like this: “Soccer is boring, and I don’t understand cricket.”

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